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Special Delivery

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Special Delivery

Published 1946

Airplanes and missions of the U.S. Army Air Forces, emphasizing Operation Crossroads (the Bikini Island atomic bomb tests).

Run time 11:49
Producer U.S. Army Air Forces
Sponsor U.S. Army Air Forces
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


(titles zoom forward and blast apart into squares over the close-up of an airplane tire speeding down a runway for take-off)

This film celebrates the strength of the Army Air Force by showing many of the different types of military jets and bombers, but mostly through the grandiose and historic event of dropping an atom bomb on Bikini Atoll in Operation Crossroads.

"Special Delivery. The delivery of that which is uncommon. Exceptional in character. Different from others. Special Delivery. Army Air-Force's style is designed for a particular function. But unlike other highly specialized functions is not limited in range, aims, or purposes. During times of war, air power is war power. As destructive as is necessary to destroy the enemy, but AAF planes large and small have more than destructive power. They have constructive power, greatly beneficial to the nation. Thus in times of peace, air power is peace power."

"Special Delivery of America's historic achievements was the destiny of the B-29. For the Army Air Forces next committed the giant B-29 armada to science. Never before had such a mighty target been assembled beneath a bomb site. 73 ships in a 5-mile area, it was a bombardier's dream target. "

"Fully aware of the eyes of the world."

"Youth and years of scientific study combined to test the power of the atom. Young man with war tempered nerves. Steeled in battle, awaited coolly for bomb-away. Learned scientists awaited tensely below to study the effects. As the metronome ticked away the eventful seconds, the world in questioning suspense waited. Unspoken was the question, 'what will happen?' . . ."

"Probably no fleet will ever again be gathered so conveniently for an atomic attacker. But neither would an aggressor nation only use one bomb. Bikini will answer many questions -- the answers will pave the way for more questions. The never-ending stream of questions of the future can only be answered by continuous study today. SCIENCE seeks new research and development. Your air forces in war lead the world in war power. Today in peace it leads the world in peace power. Air power is peace power."

A circle superimposed over the image of planes in flight displays an officer on the phone, telephone operators, a watchtower like some view finder, aiming device.
Soldiers jumping out of a plane.
Close-up shot of soldier's face in free-fall, relieved expression as parachute opens
Distant shot of many parachutes descending
military aircraft -- "the little cub", "helicopters",
"B-25 Mitchell" which used to drop bombs, now sprays DDT to end epidemics
"XF 12" for photo reconnaissance
"XP 84", "small-flying wing", "XB 35"
C-74, one of the world's largest
B-29, aerial shots of it dropping bombs, atom bombs
Close-up shot of name painted on bomber, "Dave's Dream"
Illustration -- aerial map of the location of the Bikini Islands, location of Bikini Atoll,
and the layout of the ships
"58th WING, 59" sign of bombers dropping atomic bomb
Ground crew preparations, including the shaving of sheep and the application of ointment to bare sheep skin
drone planes, controlled by ground crews
Soldiers on ship decks, ducking and covering their faces and heads
Soldiers putting on goggles
Atom bomb blasts, mushroom clouds
Geiger testing for radioactivity
Firefighters hosing down the ships
Scientists looking at radioactivity in lab-type settings
Badly damaged ships
Shadow of a bomber on the ground, shot from above

Good detail on the first Bikini test.

"Air power is peace power." The title refers to the
of duties and uses of military aircraft. From the transportation of food
medical supplies to stranded soldiers to weapons. From warplanes and
helicopters to huge commercial airliners and, inevitably, to the Bikini
atomic bomb test planes. Includes stunning footage of the preparation and
examination of target ships to the Big Bang itself.

atom bomb bikini flying wing DDT animal testing


Reviewer: Beldapriest - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 1, 2015
Subject: I made a video from this
Liked this so much I made a music video, here is a link:
Second one features additional footage.
Reviewer: Rick Prelinger - - May 11, 2011
Subject: Government works are generally public domain... the United States. This is a work of the US Federal government.
Reviewer: laurasmith - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 9, 2011
Subject: copyright
who owns the copyright of this footage?
thank you
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 14, 2005
Subject: Here you go.
Interesting film that must've been made 10 seconds after the Bikini Atoll tests (because at the end of the film they were 'going over the results' of it). But really, this film is all about planes! planes! planes! Big ones! Small Ones! Planes that land! Planes that drop! All of this is very entertaining done (especially the montage in the first couple of minutes), The 2nd half of the film does mainly focus on the Bikini Atoll testing, and I felt a great overview. There is another film on the archive, 'Operations Crossroads' that explains it in double the time than it is explained here, but both actually are equally good.
Reviewer: Steve Nordby - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 11, 2003
Subject: "Air power is peace power"
Starts with conventional look at aircraft, other than fighters and bombers, of World War II, then has some shots of rare craft like the "flying wing". Finally, the Bikini atomic bomb test drop from "Dave's Dream", (they don't tell you it's the same B-29 that nuked Nagasaki). But this is Special Delivery for "science". MILITARY science is of course not specified.
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